fictional story mentions Baha'is/Babis in murder plot

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fictional story mentions Baha'is/Babis in murder plot - * THE INDIANAPOLIS SUNDAY STAR, SEPTEMBER 28,...
* THE INDIANAPOLIS SUNDAY STAR, SEPTEMBER 28, 1918. ECL1N1NG on a huge \ e l \ e t dnan, putting at his \\atei pipe la^ilj, Astro read to the last page ot Di\ Jekyll and Mr, Hyde, and then tossed the paper-covered book on the floor w i t h a grunt Valeska looked up trom her vork, ready for his comment. "U Stevenson had written that book this year, he'd have known more about disassociated personality," personality," he remarked, "Why, it's nothing but a parable, that's all," Valeska Valeska offered. "Well, it might be moie; it mi^hi bo science as well. The fundamental idea is wrong. We haven't only two souls or personalities apiece, one good, ono bad; we have an infinite number, according to mod*/ mod*/ ern psychology. Our normal seU c t \n bieak up into any number of combinations of its elements. That is why we are different persons when we're angiy, When we dream, when we are drunk or insane." "But isn't there a subconscious self that runs^Iie body at such times?" said Valeska. "I've leen reading reading about it. Some psychologists call it the 'sub Uuiinal' self." "Rubbish." Astro rose and walked up and do\\n nervously. "They are not psychologists; the are metaphysicians, and not worth considering, They speak as if there were a foort ot secret submerged feoul coiled up inside us like a chicken in an egg. An oracle in a well. There ib no such thing. We are all ol a piece." "But how about somnambulists uho diagnose their own complaints and predict the course of their illness? Ho\\ about the kno\\n cases of m u l t i p l e personality--Fchda X and Misa Beauchamp in Boston? Boston? Their alternate selves ^ere distinct uud separate, separate, "You should read the Journal ot Abnormal Psychology," Psychology," said Astro. "Those selves are fortuitous Combinations of the normal self's properties; they are, strictly, part-selves. The subjects are simply not 'all there.'" "And those post-hypnotic time experiments, too?" She persisted. "I have read of their suggesting that a subject should, just fltteen hundred and forty-seven minutes afterward, look at his watch and write down the time. He did it. in every such case," "And you think he has a subliminal self, a sort of psychic alarm clock, that telephones to his waking personality? Nonsense, They managed to tap the mechanical part of his memory, that's all It's like looking up a book in a library. There are no co conscious personalities, What happens in "automatic "automatic writing.' A person holds a pencil in Ins hand, and it seems to write of itself. Spirits? Rubbish. Rubbish. A subliminal self? Poppycock. The hand transcribes merely records of thoughts or memories tht have^been forgotten or were unnoticed, that's all, We don't think of half we see or hear; we pass myriads_of myriads_of faces in^the street, for instance; but everything everything is recorded, as on a phonograph cylinderriuld, under abnomal conditions, the record may be reproduced." reproduced." "Well/ said Valeska, "it's all uncanny. Normal psychology is difficult enough to understand; tut when one is tour or five different persons 1 give up. How many am 1?" she added merrily, tossing a mischievous mischievous glance at him, as she put ou her hal and y ' * N ' * * * f f * * * » ~ ,, ,/, £ * v , v \ "You're a million--each nicer than the rest." "Then Tin glad/' She looked very demure as she walked toward the door; but she stopped there to smile frankly back at him, then threw Ivirn a good night and vanished. / Astro yawned, went to the bookcase and returned to the couch with a book by Leonide Keating, For * wfille he labofed with Big grandiloquent mysticism, With the secret of Om and the central crystal of the universe; then suddenly he sat erect. A noise in the outer room haa attracted his attention. Another moment moment told him that Valeska had returned and was ·peaking to some one. His name was called. " He went out, to find her with a strange girl, strangely clad. Dark-haired and dark-skinned, handsome, handsome, oriental, she was of medium height, with a red (shawl drawn about her head and a short plaid skirt showing her little feet incased in men's hea^y shoes. Sne had a vsila, frightened look finusFeyeBTHB Vti- leska tried to calm her. Her mouth trembled pitifully, pitifully, and she crouched in an attitude of fear and self-effacement. She looked quickly around at \ b t t o and ran for the door. Evidently she saw a new tor- tw lirMm, and trembled all over with excitements It Vas all Valeska could do to restrain her, Astro looked the girl over delibeiately, noting every every detail of countenance and costume, then he raised his eyebrows, "It's the strangest thing," Valeska explained. "1 was walking along Thirty-fourth street when I met Mr, and as I passed I thought that she was probably some Italian organ grinder's wife. Then she turned back and ran up to uje and seized my hand. She was evidently terribly frightened at something; but she wouldn't speak, I haven't been able to get her ,to speak yet, *She seemed to want my protection; so I brought her back here. Who do you suppose she can ber" Astro addressed the gin in Italian; but goTuo mponse. The girl eyed him as the dog watches the boy who has been torturing him. A question in Rus» *iAH was as unsuccessful. Greek, Turkish, Yiddish ~«he appeared to understand none of these, or else refused to answer. The Master ot Mysteiies became interested* "Bring her into the studio/' ho aid to Valetska. *W*'ll have something to eat here. Perhaps she is H so, that will gain us her confidence." So * he went to the telephone and ordered a din- for three sent up from a nearby restaurant. A* Vftleska gently led the stranger toward the en- to the studio, the girl suddenly gave a wail, her hands to her bosom, and stared fixedly, tn ecstasy of terror, at the office wall. There was |fcrf« otoe-day calendar there above Valeska's dosk, ft «b*et showing the words, "Thursday, May 19," *tv hurried to the girl's side, watching her keenly. Hkt put her arms about her reassuringly; but it not until «he had drawn her softly away from the t «T the calendar that the girl's perturbation was .8b* walked doggedly into the great, dim stu- ^M if half asleep. Valeska, with friendly insist- placed h4T in a comfortable chair. There the |f$t, itartaf with an expressionless face a I the jit/' eaid VatMka, aa they watched her, wait- th* 0teft*r U b* brw +4 to, "ia £Ue deaf, or '· ; S!1 I s "ALL RIGHT," HE SAID AT LAST, "YOU GO UP DOOR Astro had riot taken Ins eyes from t h e figure* of nib injbtenoiiH vlbitor, "She's an oriental, of course, That )» \\liy she's afraid of inc. She has been through some terrible nervous ordeal, 1 think, 1 be lieve bhe hasn't had enough to eai Wait till we have had dinner, and then I'll see w h a t 1 can do with her. Poor thing. I'm glad it was ou and not a po lice officer who tound her, Valeska/ 1 The girl "began to look aboutHimUUy, but with Ul* tie apparent curiofeit, Valeska undid her bhawl tiom her head, A wave of black, line, curly hair fell with the covering and made the tace more picturesque. picturesque. She nestled a little closer to hei protector, held Vaieska's hand to her own cheek. The two, vividly blonde and brunette, made a Mi iking pic- Lure together. On Astro's table was a small desk calendar, with a memorandum sheet for each day. He quietly took it up and placed U in the girl's lap. Instantly she had a new lit of terror, and leaped up in alarm. Standing Standing iu the full light of the electric lamp, they could _h_ee her_mouth woijdnig conuilshely ab 8h« ulured at the number 13. She started on a run tor t h r door. Valcbku, quicker than Astro, caught and hold her, and a^ain atiempted to Kiothe h o i . "Oh, don't try any more expcrimonl v l t h hn jot," ahe implored, "The pooi think can't Hand it She is suffering so that it indites m heiut ache ~ What~ca t n be thc-matterP- i«« tor one thing," baid Astio, scaling himself himself a little way off. "She tried to hpeak hard enough; but she couldn't. The Kirl IB not dcat or dumb, anyway. H ib growing decidedly interesting," By degrees the girl was coaxed back to the chair, and by the time the dinner had been brought in she was more easily persuaded to take a seat at the table beside Valeska, Indeed, it was evident that she was nearly starving. She ate ravenously, with gieat mouthfufs, picking up the food in her hands. She *was not to the manner born, but her pettiness made her solecisms pardonable, Once or twice duung the meal she stopped, looked at Valeska, and seemed to be trying to speak; but no words came. Her hunger satisfied, she beeined more tractable and courageous^. She lookea at Astro without fear. Toward Valeska, she showed the devotion of a dog. --The-table cleared away, Astro took a sheet ot paper and wrote down the number IIS. The girl trembled, but now not so violently. She looked up a' Val^ska with a mute appeal. "Don't," said Valcs-ka. Astro wrote a column of three figiups 6, 3 and *J The gill stared at it without intelli;euoo The Roman numerals Xlfl did not excite her at all isv,\t he nrote the woid "thirteen;" Hhe was r t i l i un moved IJe spoke the word; no response Thou lu» placed the paper in front of hoi, and the pencil in hei hand, She took it w i t h evident familiarity and her hand trembled^ Tlie,\ baw fcet bite her lip she \vat indubitably attempting to communicate w i t h t hem- but she was unable to make a tnaik on the bheet, "H'm,' said Abtro thoughtfully, "Agraphia, as well Now we'ie getting warmer. 1 t h i n k I shall get it after awhile." "Why, to me it seems more impossible than ever,'* Valeska said "Strange that we should have just leen talking about it," he replied "It's a case of lobt identity, disassociated personality, beyond doubt. I think I can solve the riddle if I ran hypnotise her. I'll try." He did tiy, but without avail. At his first mesmeric mesmeric gestures she shrank from him in fear. Ab he persisted, trying witn a crystal ball held in front of and above her eyes, to send her into a hypnotic sleep by means of a partial paralysis of the optic nerve, she resolutely deionded herself. The strangeness ot MB motions aroused her suspicion, and she refused to concentrate her attention sufficiently to be influenced. Direct verbal suggestion, the simplest and most of- feotive method of inducing hypnosis, was, of course, otii of the question, since she did not appear to understand understand any language ho spoke. "There is only one other method, if even (h«t r will succeed/* Astro said at last. "It we fcan^ get Jier i«j- \\rilc automatically, we may learn something. Her agraphiu prevents her writing with her conscious mind. We'll try what is called the method of 'ab- sh act ion,' It is a common experiment, One holds his pal lent absorbed in a conversation that compels lite utmost mental capacity--in Hebrew, tor instance, it he understand Hebrew--and while that is going*on .some one places a pencil in his hand and whispers in his ear. What you have called the 'subconscious belf* communicates by writing, and the normal conscious conscious personality is unawareJ;hat he is writing/' "But how can we engage her mind so absorbingly?" absorbingly?" Valeska asked hopelessly. "We don't know her language, whatever it may be," Astro paced the room for several minutes, think* ing deeply* He scopped occasionally to look at the girl fixedly, and resumed his, contemplation. Finally he went up to her, examined her palms, and his face lighted up. "I believe she's musical' 1 he said, Valeska stared. "But then-11 then-11 "We'll see. Have the pencil ready to put in her hand, and the paper on the table by H, Watch her olofoely, and sec H' she Is affected by the music. If seems to be, give her the pencil." With that he walked to the piano, sat down, and to play the tenth rhapsody of Liszt. As he into the abandon of its more temperamental passages he seemed himself to be abborbed, to lose hinibelf in the intricate harmonies. He was a skilled and artistic musician^ He swayed to and fro, giving himself up physically and mentally to the passion Inrt beauty of the themes, and it was not until the echoes of the last divine chords had ceased rever- beiating that he slowly turned on the piano stool and seemed to awaken. "I've got it," cried Valeska, and, springing up, she ran over and handed him a sheet of paper, It was partly covered with rude drawings, apparently mean* ingless rough sketches, mingled with attempts at lettering: lettering: Ho took the sheet eaerly and went to the table under the electric lump to scrutinize I ho figures, "It's not vdry promising material, is it?" said Va- "On the contrary, it's a fine beginning; only it will take a bit of doing to make it out" "I see the fatal 13 has put in its appearance again." The girl, who had seemed to be in a sort of stupor, now leaned over the table and inspected the sheet, At sight of the figures 13 she gave a moan and threw her arms about Valeska, trembling all over. "Poor girl," said Astro. "I'm afraid there's something something big back of all this. She's a Turk, or* an Armenian, Armenian, or a Syrian. Bee the Turkish flag that she has roughly drawn here* . , . . Babi . . . . Wait." He had risen to go over to the bookcase, when the girl reached over and would have seized the paper, bad not Valeska prevented her Astro turned to ejaculate: "FJabi?" and again, "Haha-UllaK?" The girl quivered; hut did not speaK, "She may bo H member of tbq Bahrii sect, followers followers of Ihc Bab, tin* Incarnation of the Almighty, rrligion i» not tolerated by the faithful in Persia. They are all kept to one city, where they live like piimitive Chriotians; indeed, their faith is a mixture of Christianity and Mohammedanism. We'll see. Valeska, she's iiad enough for tonight. You must take her home and take care of her, and bring her back tomorrow* Until then I must stay up and think it out." " For hours alter Valeska had ibft with her ward Astro walked up and down the length of the great dim studio. Occasionally he threw himself at full length on the bi^ couch in concentrated thought At intervals he stood erect, his eyes fixed in abstraction on some trophy of arm on the wall or in gazing into the lucent transparency of his crystal ball. Once or twice he sat down at the table and gazed long 4t the hieroglyphic marks made on the paper by the strange girl. At 3 in the morning, he partially undressed and lay down on the couch to sleep. He rose at 7, bathed and w'ent outdoors for a walk. When he returned an hour later, Valeska was In the studio alone, Her eyes were red; she seemed ashamed and self-reproachful. "The girl has disappeared," sbe exclaimed the moment Astro appeared. "When T woke up ahe wasn't in the room. She must have risen and dressed while I was asleep. But I found this." She held out a short, curved dagger in a morocco sheath* Astro, withdrawing the blade found it was engraved engraved with an Arabic inscription. He read the motto motto aloud: "For the heut of a dog, the tongue of a serpent" "Ah," he commented "this may help some, Our little friend apparently isn't BO timid as she appeared. But, somehow, this doesn't look like the property of a Babist In spite ,of their many persecutions, I believe believe they are usually nonresistants. Well, Valeska, well have to find the girl now. Come along with me immediately." His green limousine was already at the door in waiting, Both jumped in, and as they drove to the southern end of the city Astro explained: "There are two Syrian quarters in New York. One is in Brooklyn, the other down on Washington street, near the Battery, We'll go to that one first, and see what we can find there, The Turkish flag reminds me that it is often hung outside stores where they sell Turkish rugs. We'll try that clew afterward." afterward." Reaching Washington street, the two leCt the motor car and walked toward the Battery, past rows of squalid houses. At every corner Astro stopped and gazed about deliberately Finally he seized Vaieska's arm with a quick gesture. gesture. "Look at that sign," he exclaimed. On West street, facing the Hudson River, but with its rear abutting on a vacant lot on Washington wtreet, was a huge soap factory. Painted on the dead wall was a sign whose letters were eight or ten feet in height Valeska read it aloud: "Use Babrock's Brown Soap/' She Btopped and looked at Astro in bewilderment, bewilderment, "What about it?" He drew the drawing from his pocket and pointed out the lettering. "Don't you see?" he cried, " 'BABP.' That's a part of the sign, surely. Look at those two buildings on each side of the sign. Now look at this row of houses. From some one of those windows the siga must present the appearance she has drawn. Making the drawing subconsciously, she has merely copied something with which she has been familiar--seeing it, probably, every day. We must find the window from which the sign looks just like her drawing/' He looked at the sign again carefully, estimating its height and the relative position of the two buildings buildings whose roofs would cut off the first and last groups of letters A rough triangulation led him to a house in the lower part of which was a cobbler's shop. This he entered. "Are there any rooms to let in this house?*' he asked of the man at the bench. The man nodded, "Go upstairs and ask at second floor," ne implied, "You src Gaibon Soumissin; he keeps the house." v Upstairs went Astro and Valesk£» and plunged '·* into a dark, narrow hallway, A doorway opened part way and a whiskered man looked out. He an evil face, blotched with-red spots, and wore a He was smoking a Turfcteh cigarette, _ "What you want here?" "I'd like to look at your front room, third A murmur of voices came from inside the The man turned and growled some foreign oath. Then he turned and looked at Astro with a inquisition. "All right/' he said at last; "you go up. Door open. Three dollars a week," Astro waited for no more; but ran up the followed by his assistant Once out of earshot, stopped for a moment to pull out the paper and pointed to the first drawing 'on the sheet "Fez," he said, and looked at her meaningly. "The old man with the cigarette?" "Probably. Now we'll find out what they have been up to/* The hall bedroom was incredibly dirty, but con* tained nothing but a cot bed with vile coverings, chair and a crazy washstand, over which hung square cracked mirror. Astro first went to the grimy window -and looked out. He pointed to sign, and Valeska followed his eyes. One of the buildings across the street cut off the first word, "use," and the other, with a small dormer, all after "baft" with the exception of the upper of the R. It showed, in fact, precisely as the girl had drawn it. "This is the room, all righto Now let's examine examine it" He tookup the chair first, and looked it over fully. Then he pointed to marks 6n the sides (A back, where the p^int w$s worn smooth. The were about an inch wide, and similar ones the legs ao4 on the side rails of the seat "Tins is where straps have chafed the paint," commented. "She was undoubtedly fastened securely* Did you notice where the marks or bruises her?" "Yes; they were bad enough for me to There were red marks oirher wrists and on below her shoulders^ and her arms werfe almost covered with bruises; but small ones," "Oh,/they pinched her, no. doubt. Undoubtedly she had a rough tipie of it, if one may judge character of the villain with the fez. Well, we find her. There's no use inquiring here. If they used this for a torture chamber, we'll get nothing ot them, and they'll grow suspicious." They went downstairs, and, while Valeska waited in the street, Astro drove a bargain with Carbon Soumissin. Luckily the lower hall was dark, and Turk could not perceive Astro's oriental countenance. But the Master of Mysteries had an important of news to tell when he rejoined Valeska. "They were talking Arabic, or rather Turkish. hekrd one of them quote the motto we saw on dagger. Now 1 know what they are. Have you of the Hunchakists?" The papers had been so full of "one of the murders of this dreaded Armenian, society, that Ueska knew roughly what the name implied. "Every country seems to have its guerrilla assassins," assassins," said Astro, as they drove uptown. "But Armenian Hunchakists are more dangerous than of the others, because' they are better organised, Their object is usually extortion. Now we must the rug merchants. I'm afraid we're on the track something serious this time." Their route led them directly into the heart mystery. On Eighteenth street, where, in front of Turkish rug store, the crescent of Turkey hung there was a grekt crowd gathered, pressing about entrance. It took Astro little time to discover the cause of the disturbance. The merchant, Marco Dyorianr had been found, when his shop was by his head bookkeeper, lying in a pool of blood his office, shot in the back. He was not dead, mortally wounded and unconscious, He was now the hospital, at the point of death. A policeman guarded the door, preventing any from entering. Astro and s Valeska caught sight of his cap over the heads of the Bystanders, and the crowd eddied they saw his face, "Why, it's McGraw." "So it is,'* said Astro. "What luck,' 1 They squirmed their way through the croud, tc find the burly police officer who, with Astro's auce, had been able to gain considerable reputation in connection with the Macdougal street dynamite outrages. The two were now fast friends, Indeed, McGraw owed, his lieutenant's cap to,the help of Master of Mysteries. He, therefore, welcomed them both with a grin* "What is the straight of this, McGraw?" Astro asked. "Hunchakist murder, sure," responded the lieutenant. lieutenant. "I thought as much. Who did it?" "Oh, we got 'em all right this time. No thanks you, sir, for once, though I'd always be glad of help. This one's a girl who done it," Astro and Valeska looked at each other. "A "Yes, sir. They'll be bringing her down presently. presently. It's only fifteen minutes ago we got her. was hiding m a back closet where nobody thought look at first. She was in a dead faint," "What does she look like?" "Faith, I don't know that myself. I've only just got here with the reserves. But if you stand here, you'll see'her come down, There's the wagon already. already. Stand back there." ^ The crowd scattered, arid the patrol wagon up with a clatter. Several officers jumped out and ran upstairs. Astro turned to Valeska and spoke under his breath. "What time did you see .her last?" "I got up about midnight, and she was lying couch." S^he put her hand on his arm. "Oh, it have been she," she exclaimed, At that moment the officers brought their downstairs. It was indeed the girl who had been the studio the night before and had gone home Valeska. Just as the group passed Astro touched McGraw's shoulder. "Let me speak to her a moment. I know this girl." McGraw stared; but his faith in the occult of the Seer was so great that he delayed the They stopped for a moment, Astro addressed the girl in Turkish. "Let me help you," he said. Shjss looked at him sulkily. But it was not with the blank expressionless face of yesterday. Her brows drew together. "I don't know you," she said at last, Valeska pushed forward and took her hand, "Don't you know this lady?" ^6tro asked. The girl stored. Some half-forgofln memory seemed to stir within her. "Her lips moved silently as she stared hard at Vaieska's face. Then she shook her head, and said, "I don't know." "I can't keep 'em waiting," McGraw whispered. "Let her go, and you call at the Tombs to see again. I'll see that you get in, Go on, now/' The girl was escorted to the wagon and took seat, facing the crowd stolidly, an officer on each of her. Once, before they drove away, her eyes turned to where Valeska stood in the doorway, the same puzzled expression crossed her face. "McGraw," said Astro, after the wagon had "how'd you like to get a captain's commission?" McGraw hastily took him aside. "You don't to say that you know about this job already?" asked excitedly. f "I know one thing. A man you want lives at Washington street, and I think his name is GaVbon Sonmissih. At any rate, I'd advise you to get right down there immediately and run in every one find in the hoiise. Hurry up before they've gone." McGraw's eyes gleamed. "And you'll coach me then what to do?" he asked, "Yes," __ "All right." Hastily summoning a police scrgeantr (CONTINUED ON NEXT TO LAST PAGE,)

Clipped from
  1. The Indianapolis Star,
  2. 28 Sep 1913, Sun,
  3. Page 64

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  • fictional story mentions Baha'is/Babis in murder plot

    smkolins – 11 Feb 2014

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